You’re about to see a delicious culinary compromise. I was craving some grilled Italian sausage, but had a package of chicken thighs in the fridge waiting for me to grill them. What to do? My Uncle Bill (he of the now famous homemade pasta and chicken D’Arduini video recipes) makes a great Italian sausage scented with fennel, garlic and a touch of orange zest. He makes these before Christmas, cures them in his cellar, and cooks them on Christmas Eve after Midnight Mass. They are sublime. So, that’s really what I wanted, but as I said I had chicken to work with. I decided to use the same basic flavors to marinade the chicken to see if I could impart some of the magic of those sausages I was dreaming about.
Did it work? Yes and no. The chicken turned out to be very delicious. Anything grilled on a fire, after being marinated in garlic, fennel and orange is going to taste great, so on that level it was a great success. The only problem was it made me crave my Uncle’s sausage even more! By the way, if you’re wondering how I prepped my grill so the skinless chicken wouldn’t stick, go check out the Tandoori Chicken video recipe clip. Also, I like to garnish grilled meat dishes like this with the same fresh herb that I use in its dry form in the marinade. Since there was some dried oregano in the Italian herb mix, I finished my platter with some beautiful flowering oregano. This is just another great reason to plant some herbs, whether it’s in your backyard, rooftop, or windowsill. Enjoy!
10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 cloves garlic
1/2 orange, zest and juice
1 1/2 tbl kosher salt
1 tbl dried Italian herb mix (oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme)
1 tbl sweet paprika
1 tbl black pepper
2 tbl fennel seed
1 tbl olive oil